Boys Soccer

Boys soccer earns spot in state field for first time since 2017

Posted May 25, 2023

Zach Cuva provided the game-winning 72nd-minute goal to power the Little Cyclone boys soccer team into the IHSAA state tournament for the first time since 2017.

The seventh-ranked Little Cyclones drew No. 8 Des Moines East in a substate final. The Iowa Alliance Conference foes had met two weeks earlier when Ames topped the Scarlets 3-0. The late-season game though featured the absence of several starters for both teams – so Wednesday’s battle was a new challenge.

Ames opened the scoring right before halftime. Christian Gallt sent a free kick into the box and Ethan Sigurdsson was able to redirect it with a header to the far post for the early Little Cyclone advantage.

The score remained 1-0 until Des Moines East’s Jose Balderas was able to equalize from a scrambled corner kick in the 69th minute. The level scoreline was short-lived as Ethan Sigurdsson’s timed pass found Zach Cuva to slot home the eventual game-winner.

“It’s been way too long,” Ames head coach Ryan McGowan told the Ames Tribune. “We haven’t made it since I was an assistant coach. This senior class, their very first varsity game was against Waukee and we got beat 10-0, which was my first-ever game (as head coach). These seniors stayed the course and kept pushing. Now they are going to finish their careers at the state tournament.”

The Little Cyclones (13-4) land the seventh seed at next week’s IHSAA State Soccer Tournament at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines. Ames will face second-seeded Dowling Catholic (15-2) on Tuesday, May 30 for a 7:30 PM kickoff time. The game will be played on Field 6 at Cownie (Grand View field). Ames fell 4-2 in an earlier season meeting with Dowling at the Valley Invitational.

Tickets are $10 (+$3 parking fee) and are available for purchase on the IHSAA Ticketing website: